We’ve prepared an outline of the four major kinds of marketplace consumer abuses that need to be addressed. You can review our descriptions and ideas in the following links, then comment on them or add your own:

Current State of Consumer Protections

American consumers are increasingly the targets of unfair and illegal practices by some of the largest corporations in the country. Sometimes just a few pennies are at stake. But even that can add up to a bonanza for unscrupulous businesses. Other times, people end up with their credit ruined, or even bankrupt.

Consumers are more vulnerable than ever, for five reasons:

1) Many companies have made it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to resolve a problem quickly. A majority of companies have outsourced their entire customer service operations to third party vendors, often in foreign countries where labor is cheap.

2) Government consumer protection agencies are woefully understaffed. Many agencies are in the pocket of industry. Either way, this second line of defense can no longer adequately police the marketplace to protect the public.

3) Most states have consumer protection laws, but these laws have not kept pace with changes in the marketplace. They do not protect consumers against new rip-offs that are unique to the high-tech era we live in.

4) Many state legislatures have cut back on the right of their citizens to “have their day in court.” Armed with generous campaign contributions, industry lobbyists have worked hard in recent years to win legislation restricting access to the courts.

5) Corporate lawyers have succeeded in winning court approval for one-sided contracts that allow companies to escape responsibility for their practices. In these “heads I win, tails you lose” arrangements, consumers are obligated to obey the contract to the letter, while companies are free to change the terms of the contract at any time.

We need to do more than share our frustrating experiences and try to figure out clever ways around a system that has become grossly unfair. We need changes in the laws, so that companies stop abusing consumers and consumers have the power to protect themselves.

GiveMeMyMoneyBack.com invites you to help draft new consumer protection laws by fleshing out the problems and solutions listed in the links above.

We look forward to your input.

— Harvey Rosenfield